Smaller Royal Air Force Stations
Many Stations and Units of the Royal Air Force do not operate aircraft, nor are they based at or near an active airfield. A good example of this is RAF Spadeadam, the Electronic Countermeasures Range. Other roles of the stations in this section are as diverse as the maintenance of satellite communications at RAF Oakhanger to safeguarding the health of serving personnel at the Centre of Aviation Medicine, RAF Henlow.
Amport House, the Armed Forces Chaplain Centre, was inaugurated on the 1 April 1996 to provide religious and welfare support and training for uniformed personnel of all three services. Originally the RAF Chaplain's School, the School moved to Amport House in 1962, having first been based at Dowdswell Court in Cheltenham.
Parented by RAF Brize Norton, the Station is home to No 2 and 81 Signals Units which are involved with High Frequency Communications.
The primary function of RAF Barkston Heath is as a Relief Landing Ground for the flying training activities at RAF Cranwell. The airfield originally opened in 1941 and was home to the 61st Troop Carrier Group of the 9th USAAF during the Second World War. Nowadays, it is a regular home to only one unit, the Joint Elementary Flying Training School which operates 18 Mk II Firefly two seat trainers.
Famous for its pivotal role as Fighter Command Headquarters during the Battle of Britain, Bentley Priory is now the home of several RAF directorates including the Air Historical Branch.
A signals Station, Boddington is home to No 9 Signals Unit and Headquarters TARE Units.
Home of the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, the RAF presence at Boscombe Down has been reduced to the Southampton University Air Squadron.
RAF Brampton Wyton Henlow is the result of the merger of Brampton Wyton (itself a merger) with Henlow which took place on 1 Apr 01. The sites retain their own identities but are run under single command, with many of the support functions centralised. The unit also provides support for RAF Stanbridge and parenting for some activity at RAF Chelveston. The Station Commander is based at Wyton but maintains offices at all 3 locations, as do his 2 functional wing commanders, OC Personnel Support Wing and OC Station Support Wing. The role of the Station is to provide support for the lodger units thereon, most of which are Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) formations.
Originally a civil airfield opened in the 1930s, the RAF took over the site from May 1940 for use as a Coastal Command Station. Post war, the Station was largely used for training, particularly weapons training as the home of No 2 Tactical Weapons Unit, from 1980 until fixed wing flying ceased in 1994. The only units now based at Chivenor are "A" Flight of 22 Squadron with two Sea King HAR3A helicopters for Search and Rescue duties and its HQ Flight, and No 624 Volunteer Gliding School operating Vigilant T1 motor gliders.
Cosford has been involved with the training of RAF ground tradesmen since it opened in 1938. Units currently based at Cosford are No 1 School of Technical Training, the Birmingham University Air Squadron operating Tutor T1s, and No 633 Volunteer Gliding School with Vigilant T1s.
RAF Digby, originally called RAF Scopwick, was established on 28 March 1918. It has been home to a number of units, including Nos. 2 and 3 Flying Training Schools and both Guy Gibson and Douglas Bader were station here. In 1942, the Station became a Royal Canadian Air Force Station operating Mosquito aircraft. Following a brief period as a Technical Training Unit, the role of the Station changed yet again in 1955 with the arrival of No. 399 Signals Unit. This was later joined by 591 Signals Unit and the Aerial Erectors School. No. 399 Signals Unit changed its name to the Joint Service Signals Unit on 15 September 1998, reflecting not only its tri-Service environment, but also its bi-National one with members of all three US forces serving alongside RAF, Army and Royal Navy personnel.
An Army Air Corps helicopter base, Dishforth is also a Relief Landing Ground for RAF Linton and is home to the RAFGSA Cleveland Gliding Club.
Donna Nook is the an East Coast bombing range.
Halton is home to the School of Recruit Training, the RAF Institute of Health, Headquarters Defence Dental Agency, and a Volunteer Gliding School, No 613, flying Vigilant T1s.
Purchased after the Second World War with money from the "Royal Air Force Pilots and Crews Fund", a public collection as a tribute to the deeds of the RAF, Headley Court is now the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Unit, which aims to return all those service personnel injured or seriously ill to full fitness.
Holbeach is the Wash Bombing Range.
Located at the Defence School of Transport, Europe's largest driver training establishment, are 2 Sea King HAR3s of "E" Flight of No 202 Squadron are based on the airfield and operate over the local area and North Sea on search and rescue duties.
Currently the Station is under enhanced care and maintenance status.
Due to the sheer numbers of Hawk T1/T1As operating at RAF Valley, Mona is the very necessary Relief Landing Ground for 4 Flying Training School.
This Station is the focal point of military satellite communications in the UK. Two satellite communications (Satcom) units are based at Oakhanger, No 1001 Signals Unit and a NATO Satellite Ground Terminal.
This bombing and firing range is adjacent to the old Pembrey airfield on the South Wales coast.
The Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre (Military) provides en route air traffic services to operational air traffic flying within the Scottish Flight Information and Upper Information Regions. ScATCC(Mil) and its civil counterpart, the Scottish Oceanic and Area Control Centre (ScOACC), are partners in one of the most successful civil/military ATC collaborations in the world. The shared facilities at Atlantic House, Prestwick, enhance the working relationships between civil and military controllers ensuring the increasingly busy skies of Northern Britain and its surrounding waters remain safe for all airspace users.
St Athan is the home of the Defence Aircraft Repair Agency (DARA). Major maintenance tasks on a wide variety of RAF aircraft ranging from Harriers and Tornados to VC10s is carried out here. Other units are a Mountain Rescue Team, the University of Wales Air Squadron with Tutor T1s and No 634 Volunteer Gliding School with Viking TX1s.
Originally a civil airfield, the RFC took over Sealand in 1916, and the Station was used for training and later, maintenance, a role that continues today. No 30 Maintenance Unit first moved to Sealand in 1937, and today is responsible for the third line repair of airborne avionic equipment for all three Armed Services. No 631 Volunteer Gliding School operates Viking TX1s from the South Airfield.
Spadeadam became an RAF Station in 1976, and was the first Electronic Warfare Range in Western Europe. It is now a NATO Electronic Countermeasures Range.
Stafford is home to two long standing RAF units. No 16 Maintenance Unit was formed in 1939, and still serves as an Equipment Supply Depot. No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron moved to Stafford in 1958, and is responsible for providing transport assistance for unit moves, and the handling of large or abnormal loads. The Squadron also trains HGV Class 1 drivers for the RAF. Also at Stafford is the Tactical Supply Wing (TSW), which operates mobile aviation fuel handling facilities for helicopters and Harriers deployed in the field.
Initially a bomber station when it opened in 1940, Syerston became a training base post-war, until it closed as an operational station in 1976. Syerston is currently home to the RAF's Air Cadets Central Gliding School, responsible for the allocation and maintenance of gliders, and No 644 Volunteer Gliding School.
Tain is a bombing range on the Moray Firth.
Topcliffe is a satellite airfield of RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
Wainfleet is the Wash (North Side) bombing range.
Although the RAF station at West Drayton closed many years ago, the site still hosts the military air traffic control centre co-located with the civil London Area and Terminal Control Centre. The unit provides a vital link between civil and military flying and airspace requirements.
Woodvale is currently home to the Liverpool and Manchester University Air Squadrons which both operate Tutor T1s, and No 10 Air Experience Flight.
Date Last Updated : Thursday, March 10, 2005 5:34 PM
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